Simplicity, Silence and Solitude

Throughout the centuries there have been few changes in monastic life. A person wishing to become a monk or nun has to give up everything s/he owns. The man or woman must have nothing which s/he can call her/his own - not even a pair of shoes or a pen.

They must accept the Rule of the Order, following it with patience and devotion. It is a life of simplicity, but it is also a life of hard work.

Many hours are spent in church each day so that the monks / nuns can pray to God.

Silence is essential to the life of a monk / nun. In their silence they listen to God. In this way they feel that they can grow closer to God. The monastic life is a listening life, a way to absorb God. The silence is not so much a lack of sound but a way of allowing God to speak to them. The solitude is a tradition whereby a monk is totally open to God.

Why are there fewer monks / nuns in today’s society?

Hundreds of years ago it was easier to become a monk or nun than it is today; many more people went to church and religion was a way of life for most people. Today, however, this way of life is less appealing. There are many distractions for young people. Newcomers to a convent or monastery find the silence difficult because they are so used to everyday background noises, such as radios.

People today are not keen on commitment. Many adults marry and then get divorced, or do not feel the need to get married at all.

To many people today God is not fashionable. Lots of people put themselves first - they know their rights and want what they think is theirs by right. Society has become more selfish - a far cry from the concepts of a monastic community.

Why did so many people take up the monastic life if Davidís rule was so strict?

Christians believe that one day Jesus will return to earth. This is what God has said will happen and it is recorded in the Bible. No-one knows when Jesus will come again, but when he does, this world will come to an end. Christians believe that when Jesus comes the people who have lived a good life will go to heaven to be with Jesus and God. Those people who have led a bad life will go to hell. The way you live your life on earth will affect the life you lead in the next world

During Davidís time the people thought that the end of the world would happen very soon. Many men joined Davidís monastery hoping to find a deeper meaning to life and a closer existence to God.

The monks focused all their attention on God, following a strict rule of silence at certain times of the day, and not talking at other times unless necessary. In their silence they could not only talk to God in prayer but also listen to God talking to them.

The monks in Davidís monastery lived celibate lives, following the example of the monastic tradition of the East. However, if you travelled around Wales at that time you would have found communities of monks who were married and lived with their families. There would also have been anchorites, hermits and celibate women as well as men. It was not until the time of the Normans that celibate monks became commonplace.